Visiting with your loved one should be pleasant and filled with good memories to bring home with you at the end of the day. Instead of pleasant memories, you could be left worried, stressed, and unsure if you and your family made the right decision when your loved one became a resident of the nursing home. Even if this was the best possible decision, you may feel conflicted when you see signs of abuse.
Your loved one may have lost weight, he or she may be quieter, more fearful or you may even see bruises that can’t be explained. No matter what the signs are, if you suspect abuse, you have to do something. You need to take action.
Discuss the Incident with Your Loved One
Your first step should be to discuss what happened with your loved one. Ask if he or she feels threatened or if anyone harmed them. Keep in mind that he or she may not always feel comfortable discussing what happened. Some may keep quiet, in fear of retaliation from the staff, or because they feel weak and embarrassed by what’s happening. If your instincts are telling you that something is wrong, you need to explore the idea that there could be abuse going on.
Talk to the Administrators of the Home
After you discuss what happened with the resident, you can take your concerns to the administrators of the facility. You can discuss what your concerns and fears are with the administration and request that they do something to stop the neglect or abuse. They are obligated to ensure that the environment is safe for all residents.
File a Complaint Against the Facility
If the facility does not respond to your complaints or if you are not satisfied with the action that the facility takes, you can file a complaint with the appropriate agency in your state. Once you file a complaint, the state will have to investigate the allegations of abuse.
Keep Documentation of Everything
Once you’ve filed the complaint, it is time to make sure that you collect every possible piece of evidence. If you plan to file a civil lawsuit against the facility, you need to have proof of abuse or negligence. Keep a journal of all of your different concerns. If you see any marks on your loved one, take pictures of them. Keep track of everything that changes and everything that concerns you about his or her treatment.
Contact an Attorney
If you suspect a loved one is facing abuse in a nursing home, contact a lawyer, like a nursing home lawyer from Brown Kiely LLP, today to set up a consultation. He or she will know the next steps to take.